Tip: Choosing a Power Drill
Power drills are a necessary tool for anyone who attempts even basic DIY. Drills are used for boring holes in a variety of materials including wood, metal, plastic and concrete. A drill is also necessary for making holes in brick or masonry when fitting shelfs, cupboards, brackets and other items to walls. A cordless drill can be used for driving screws in addition to being used conventionally for drilling holes.
Choosing a drill - What are the options?
There are two main choices when choosing a drill - You can buy a cordless battery powered drill or alternatively a corded drill powered by mains electricity.
- No trailing power cord to fall over giving freedom to work anywhere without a power source
- Can be used for driving screws
- No danger of electrocution
- Chuck slips if drill bit gets stuck, so no danger of burning out motor
- Not as powerful as a corded drill
- If you don't have a spare charged battery, you have to wait for battery to charge
- Lots of power so can be used for drilling large and/or deep holes
- Cord needs to be plugged into a power source so this can be inconvenient when working in awkward spaces or on a height.
- The cord can also be cut or be tripped over.
Things to check out when buying a drill:
Chuck type - On a cordless drill this is nearly always hand tightened. Corded drills come with either hand tightening (keyless) or keyed chucks. The drill bit can be tightened better in a keyed chuck.
Chuck size - Usually 10 to 13 mm on a cordless drill. Most corded drills have a 13mm chuck but models with 16mm chucks are available.
Power - Corded drills have a rating between 500 and 800 watt. Higher powered SDS drills are available. These are used with SDS bits for drilling hols through masonry. A 650 watt drill is adequate for domestic purposes.
Voltage - Cordless drills have voltage ratings between 10.8 and 36 volts. Higher voltage gives more torque which is measured in Nm or footpounds. An 18 volt drill has plenty of power but you can choose a 12 volt model if you prefer a lighter tool. 24 and 36 volt models are large and bulky. A drill with 60 NM (44 foot pounds) of torque is adequate for most medium to serious DIY chores, but 40 to 45 NM is ok for light drilling and screw driving.
For more info, checkout my guide to buying power tools here: